K19.14 billion needed to feed the hungry
A latest Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report has revealed that Malawi needs K19.14 billion to feed hungry citizens this year.
This is despite the government spending K41.5 billion in the 2018 Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) during the last growing season.
According to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, 1,062,674 people, out of the total estimated rural population of 14,747,257, will not be able to meet their annual food requirement during the 2019/20 consumption period.
Secretary to Treasury, Cliff Chiunda, said in a statement Thursday that the exercise was aimed at assessing food security situation in the country, and determining the number of people who are likely to be food-insecure during the 2019/20 consumption year.
He said seven percent of the country’s population faces hunger this year.
Chiunda said the affected population has decreased from 3,306,405 people during the 2018/19 consumption period to 1,062, 674 people this consumption season, adding that the affected population is in all 27 districts which were assessed with varying degrees of severity.
“This decrease has been as a result of increased agriculture production during the 2018/19 agriculture season due to favourable weather in general, despite instances of flooding, Fall Army Worm infestation and extended dry spells in some districts.
“The total humanitarian maize that is required to support the affected people is estimated at 33,810 metric tonnes (MT) of maize with an estimated cash value of about K6.76 billion. In addition, the affected population will also require 6,762 MT of pulses costing about K10.14 billion and 1,244 MT of vegetable oil costing about K2.24 billion,” Chiunda said.
Presenting the 2019/20 national budget last month, Finance Minister, Joseph Mwanamvekha, said to ensure adequate food for the affected households, the government has allocated K10 billion for the purchase of maize by National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to restock the Strategic Grain Reserves.
Mwanamvekha said the K10 billion allocation represents an increase of 14.7 percent when compared to the amount that was spent last financial year.
According to Chiunda, NFRA is in the process of procuring maize to increase their stocks to manage eventualities.
He added that Admarc is procuring maize from the smallholder farmers to ensure that the commodity is available in all its selling points, so as to stabilise the prices of maize, in particular during the lean period.
“Furthermore, the government in collaboration with stakeholders will continue to implement safety nets and resilience building interventions across the country,” Chiunda said.
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